Royal engagement

Although New Zealand is not Britain, the royal family is still “our” royal family. We are interested in the royals – some people more than other people – and interested in the news of Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry has had a difficult life in many respects. First, he lost his mother at a very young age and was forced to walk behind the coffin in front of thousands of people on the street watching, and probably millions watching on TV. Fairly recently, he said he had been suffering from mental distress as a result of that but was finally trying to cope with this.

As a soldier, he had to be protected in case a group in the enemy country took him hostage. When he served in Afghanistan, this was kept secret from the public.

He has also had difficulties trying to keep his personal life private. Whenever he was seen in public with a young woman, photographers and newspaper journalists would splash this across the front page of newspapers.

The media have been quick to tell us that this woman is an unusual choice for a wife. She is a commoner, which means she is not royal. She’s not even British, she’s an American and an actress. She was married before, for two years, but is divorced. In the past, a royal family member could not marry a divorced person. She is also 3 years older than Harry, but does that matter? Also, the fact that she is of mixed race is unusual – her mother is African American. But again, is that important? Perhaps it’s more important that Harry is prepared to break with tradition.


coffin (n) – a box containing the dead person
cope (v) – manage
hostage (n)– a person who is captured by a group who want money before they will free that person
splash (v) – to have a big photo and story, make it a big story


in many respects – in some ways
have been quick to tell us – implies a criticism that the media love something controversial or negative instead of giving a thoughtful opinion


photograph – stress on first syllable; photographer – stress on second syllable


  1. Another idiom: break with tradition (note “with”)

  2. i do not quite grasp the usage of ” have been quick to tell us ” it is a common idiom used in daily life ?

  3. It is common amongst native speakers but it’s negative so better to avoid it. It’s often used for gossip. The opposite would be thoughtful article in the media dealing with important matters instead of things like gossip.

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